The Mule reviews: What do critics say about Clint Eastwood movie? | Films | Entertainment



The Mule stars Clint Eastwood as the real-life Earl Stone, a man in his 80s who is broke, alone, and facing foreclosure of his business when he is offered a job that simply requires him to drive. Unbeknownst to Earl, he’s just signed on as a drug courier for a Mexican cartel and does well — so well, in fact, that his cargo increases exponentially, and Earl is assigned a handler. But he isn’t the only one keeping tabs on Earl; the mysterious new drug mule has also hit the radar of hard-charging DEA agent Colin Bates and even as his money problems become a thing of the past, Earl’s past mistakes start to weigh heavily on him, and it’s uncertain if he’ll have time to right those wrongs before law enforcement, or the cartel’s enforcers, catch up to him.

What do critics say about The Mule?

The Clint Eastwood vehicle has a respectable 69 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes.

The Critics’ Consensus reads: “A flawed yet enjoyable late-period Eastwood entry, The Mule stubbornly retains its footing despite a few missteps on its occasionally unpredictable path.”

Ben Sachs for the Chicago Reader:

The Mule thrives in teasing ambiguity…For decades now, Eastwood has been one of the great interrogators of American social mores.

David Sims for The Atlantic:

This movie is as much a eulogy for a country that Eastwood sees as slowly crumbling as it is for the life Earl chose to lead.


Adam Graham for the Detroit News:

A little nuance and it could have gotten there, but Eastwood’s already moving on.

Joshua Rothkopf for Time Out:

Tonally, this thing is a disaster, and you can only conclude that its maker, capable of sharp ironies as recently as 2014’s American Sniper, didn’t fully digest the material.

Rex Reed for the Observer:

There’s nothing heroic about Earl, but in Eastwood’s 38th film as a director, he makes the character a felonious centrepiece as likeable as anyone could ever imagine.

Christy Lemire for

The Mule repeatedly spells out and hammers home its message about the importance of family, but it ultimately rings hollow.


Joe Morgenstern for the Wall Street Journal:

The story at its core deals with matters that have long been Mr Eastwood’s professional, and clearly personal, concern…

When the old man finally mans up to his failings, the movie succeeds with special poignancy.

Barry Hertz for the Globe and Mail:

There’s an interesting movie, or five movies stashed away somewhere in The Mule. Good luck to those hoping to sniff it out.

Peter Travers for Rolling StoneL

It’s the detours on Eastwood’s road movie- the stops along the way that show an old man dealing with the dim possibilities of change near the end of his life – that reveal this drug-mule-in-winter drama as a deeply personal reckoning.

Keith Phipps for Slate:

A spry, funny, moving film that never heads in the direction in which it looks like it’s about to head, kind of like its protagonist.


Richard Roeper for the Chicago Sun-Times:

An entertaining enough offbeat crime comedy/drama featuring an amazing cast – led by the grizzled, shuffling, mumbling, wisecracking old dog playing the lead.

Manohla Dargis for the New York Times:

Because the movie never builds to something greater than its parts, Eastwood ends up blowing raspberries and floundering for meaning in a void.

Kenneth Turan for the Los Angeles Times:

For one thing, though the feeling sneaks up on you, “The Mule” has an unexpected emotional kick.

Jake Coyle for the Associated Press:

Both tender apologia and vigorous justification, Clint Eastwood’s The Mule is a deeply, fascinatingly personal meditation from the 88-year-old director who, like his aged drug mule protagonist, has spent a long time on the road.

Richard Brody for the New Yorker:

Plays less like the clever action film it is than like a personal work-a movie of self-retrospection with a resonant, romantic air of regret.

The Mule is now playing in cinemas.


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